Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Aesop’s Foibles #3 The Lion and the Mouse

There was once a teeny weeny mouse who accidentally fell into a crack in the crevice of a lion’s cave and landed squarely onto the nose of the king of the beasts. The lion woke up with a starle and found himself face to face with the little intruder who clung to his furry face paralyzed by fear. As the fable goes the lion threatended to eat the mouse but through frantic pleas for forgiveness and promises to return the favor someday the lion relented. Besides he humbly told the lion that he is not worthy to stain the royal paws of the monarch with his plebeian blood.

Once freed from the lion’s clutches the mouse, in retrospect, felt that he was completely humiliated by the incident. He had degraded himself into a sniveling and cowardly runt of a creature not even a mouse deserved to be one and all for what? …to avoid the tyranny of might…to avoid being squashed…all because of his accidentally falling into the lion’s den. He couldn’t see the justice in all that has transpired.

As fate would have it the lion was captured by hunters and he was held down blanketed by a heavy rope net which was tethered to a large acacia tree. The lion roars into the jungle as if summoning all his subjects in the animal kingdom to come to his succor.

In the original story the little mouse feeling beholden to the lion because he was set free rushed to his rescue by gnawing at the ropes and consequently gaining him freedom. Thus leading to the moral lessons “Little friends may prove to be great friends” or “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”.

But the little mouse in this version of the fable did not feel that he is under any obligation to help the lion in his distress. In fact he had an ax to grind with the lion for having made him debase himself and reduced his mousehood to nil.

The little mouse went to the scene of the lion’s capture. In the middle of the night he quietly crept towards the lion in the rope net. The lion upon seeing him heaved a sigh of relief. At last a faithful subject had come to the rescue. The mouse clambered up to the face of lion and as he got himself facing the lion’s nose gave it a hefty bite. The lion roared in pain and heaving his head the mouse was thrown out of the net landing in a grassy patch under the acacia tree. He scurried home a happy mouse.

No one pays fealty to the arrogance of the mighty.

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